Needless to say, we at The Op are huge fans of Harry Potter. When we started working on the first officially-licensed Harry Potter themed cooperative deck-building game, we couldn’t have been more excited! The result of our collaboration with Forrest-Pruzan Creative was Harry Potter™: Hogwarts™ Battle, an award-winning, immersive, and challenging Wizarding World board game for fans. For those of you acquainted with other deck-building games, you may see some things that look familiar, but rest assured, we believe that there are a lot of unique and exciting aspects that fans of both Harry Potter and deck-building games will really enjoy. Even if you are not familiar with a deck building game, this is designed to get you comfortable with the gameplay before ramping it up in difficulty, challenging your skills!
In this guide, we will share some details about the game, its components and mechanics, and maybe even a few (but not all!) of the secrets and surprises to discover. We’ll also share how you can extend your experience in the Wizarding World with the game’s magical expansions!
Quick Jump to Section:
- Welcome to Hogwarts: Heroes and Starting Decks
- Class is Now in Session! Acquiring New Hogwarts Cards and Building Your Deck
- Welcome to Defence Against the Dark Arts: Villains and Dark Arts Cards
- A Quick Tour of the Wizarding World: Locations, Control, and More
- Venture into the Forbidden Forest with Harry Potter™ Hogwarts™ Battle: The Monster Box of Monsters Expansion
- Brew New Ways to Defeat the Dark Lord with the Harry Potter™ Hogwarts™ Battle: The Charms and Potions Expansion
- Maximize the Longevity of Your Deck-Building Experience With Harry Potter™: Hogwarts™ Battle Card Sleeves
The game will unfold over a series of seven adventures, each more challenging than the ones before it. Over the course of each adventure, you will have to build a deck with powerful Spells, Allies, and Items in order to face off against malicious Villains, withstand their Dark Arts attacks, and protect Locations from their attempts to control them. In each game, you must defeat all the Villains before they gain control of the Locations in order to achieve victory! Once you have completed all seven games, your adventures don’t have to end! Play from the beginning with a new character or return to your favorite games for another battle.
Welcome to Hogwarts: Heroes and Starting Decks
To begin your adventure, you will take on the role of one of four Heroes: Harry Potter™, Ron Weasley™, Hermione Granger™ or Neville Longbottom™. We chose these four characters because they all start their studies at Hogwarts at the same time and have an important role to play each year. Over the course of your adventures, your Heroes will gain improved wizarding skills to help defend against the looming threat of You-Know-Who.
In addition to your Hero card, you will also start with a Turn Order card to remind you of what you can do on your turn, as well as a Player Board to help you keep track of things like your deck of Hogwarts cards, your Hero’s Health, and resources you collect in the form of Influence and Attack tokens.
Alohomora!, the unlocking spell, is one of the first spells every first-year student at Hogwarts learns, and the only Spell you start with each game. This Spell allows a Hero to gain Influence as they demonstrate their skills as a wizard, which you will use to acquire new Hogwarts cards for your deck and ‘unlock’ your wizarding potential by learning new Spells, discovering Items, and recruiting Allies to aid you in your adventures.
In addition to Alohomora!, each Hero also has a few starting cards unique to his or her own deck. These are iconic characters (Allies) and objects (Items) associated with each of the Heroes during their adventures at Hogwarts. Harry starts with his Invisibility Cloak which protects him from Dark Arts attacks, and he is accompanied by his faithful companion Hedwig, who can protect him in one of two ways: by either gaining Attack to defeat Villains, or Health to make sure Harry doesn’t get stunned. Neville has a Remembrall to help him remember what he seems to have forgotten, and a Mandrake which has a variety of uses when handled properly!
Class is Now in Session! Acquiring New Hogwarts Cards and Building Your Deck
Throughout the course of your Wizarding World adventure, you’ll come across a wide variety of Hogwarts cards that you can acquire and use to build your deck. Remember, as in most deck-building games, you start with a personal ten-card starting deck. Each turn you draw a new hand of five cards from your deck. When your deck runs out of cards, you shuffle your discard pile into your new deck, including the new Hogwarts cards you acquired on your turn.
For example, let’s say you are playing as Harry, and have a starting hand of four Alohomora! cards and your Invisibility Cloak card. Each card describes what it does when you play it, and most allow you to collect resources in the form of Influence or Attack tokens. You can and should play all the cards in your hand if possible, and try to use all your accumulated tokens each turn, because anything left over must be discarded at the end of your turn. Play your five cards to gain 5 tokens, collecting them on your Player Board.
Now let’s see what you can do with all that Influence. At the start of each game, you will shuffle the Hogwarts cards and deal out the top six on the game board. These are the initial cards available for you to use your Influence to acquire and add to your Hero deck. Each card has a Type (either Ally, Item, or Spell), Name, Effect, and Value. To acquire a card, you must spend Influence equal to its value, and place the card in your Discard Pile. You don’t get to play newly acquired cards immediately, and must wait until they shuffle back into your hand for you to play them.
With 5 Influence, you have a lot of options. You might want to spend 3 Influence for Quidditch™ Gear and 2 Influence for Essence of Dittany, to make sure you’re ready for the battles to come. Another option would be to spend time studying your spellwork, and acquire Reparo! and Wingardium Leviosa! to give you the ability to acquire higher-value cards. You could acquire Hagrid™ as an Ally, leaving you with 1 Influence left over that you would have to discard at the end of your turn. The choice is yours! At the end of your turn you will reveal new Hogwarts cards, replacing the ones you acquired, so that there are always six available to acquire on each Hero’s turn.
Notice that some Hogwarts cards benefit only you, while others can aid any one Hero or even ALL Heroes! Remember, Harry Potter™: Hogwarts™ Battle is a cooperative game, so it will be important for you to work together and figure out which cards pair best with each Hero, and build your decks to be the most powerful wizards you can be. Also important to note is that even though you can’t save cards or resources on your turn, you can gain resources on another Hero’s turn. You get to keep and use those resources on your turn, in order to help out one another. With that in mind, here’s a sneak peek at a couple more cards that you won’t see in your first game, but you’ll find starting with Game 2:
Welcome to Defence Against the Dark Arts: Villains and Dark Arts Cards
Now we are going to take a closer look at the Villains you will surely encounter throughout your years at Hogwarts and the Dark Arts they employ to bring about the return of He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named. Remember, in order to win each game, you will have to defeat all the Villains, and make sure you don’t fall prey to their Dark Arts attacks and insidious abilities.
Starting with Game 1, each game adventure will introduce a set of new Villains that you must defeat in order to win. In the first game, there will only be three Villains that you must defeat, and you only have to face one at a time. As you progress through each game, the number of Villains you must defeat will increase, as the Death Eaters grow in numbers and new ones appear. No one ever said this was going to be easy! Let’s take a look at an example of the sorts of Villains you will be facing in your efforts to defend Hogwarts.
Each Villain has a Name, Ability, Health, and Reward. Above we have Crabbe & Goyle, sons of two of the most notorious Death Eaters known to the wizarding world. They have an Ability that will trigger each time a particular effect occurs, usually generated by a Dark Arts event. Their Health of 5 in the lower-right corner is the number of Attack tokens that must be assigned to them in order to defeat them. Remember, some of your Hogwarts cards like Incendio! allow you to gain Attack, and this is where it comes in handy! As you may have guessed, the Reward is what you gain when you assign enough Attack to defeat them.
Each game will also include a set of new Dark Arts events, adding even more dangerous effects to the stack of Dark Arts cards with each subsequent game. Dark Arts events have a variety of detrimental effects, including things like forcing the Heroes to lose Health or discard cards. Each turn you will reveal one or more Dark Arts events as the Villains launch attacks against the Heroes.
After resolving Dark Arts events, you will check to see if any of the Villain abilities trigger. Some will occur each turn, and others only if specific events take place. For example, in the case of Crabbe & Goyle, if the Dark Arts event revealed had been Flipendo! you would have lost 1 Health, discarded 1 card, then lost another 1 Health to Crabbe & Goyle’s ability! Those two are clearly up to no good, and need to be dealt with!
A Quick Tour of the Wizarding World: Locations, Control, and More
Let’s take a closer look at the Locations that Villains seek to control, the ways in which they can increase their control, and what your Heroes can do to thwart their efforts. Remember, if the Villains are able to gain control of all the Locations before you defeat the Villains, you lose the game. So it is of utmost importance for you to make sure that does not happen, or else the Death Eaters will bring about the return of He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named!
Each Location has a number of details, including its name, order in which it must be defended, the number of Dark Arts events to reveal each turn, and how many Control tokens must be added to it for the Villains to take it over. There are only two Locations to defend for Game 1, Diagon Alley™ and the Mirror of Erised. Each game will have its own set of contested Locations that are unique to that game, as the Villains continue their campaign of evil across the Wizarding World in their service to the Dark Lord.
Villains can add Control to a Location in a few ways. The primary way is through the effects of some of the Dark Arts events, like He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named. The other common way in which Villains increase control is if a Dark Arts event or Villain ability causes your Hero’s health to be reduced to zero. When this happens your Hero is stunned, and a few things occur. This includes adding 1 Control to the Location and forcing you to discard half the cards in your hand as well as any tokens you might have collected. Don’t worry, you will recover back to full health at the end of the turn and be able to draw back up to five cards, but each setback only helps bolster the Villains in their nefarious plots to increase their Location control. So be sure to keep an eye on both your health as well as that of your teammates, and try to keep each other as healthy as possible.
Additionally, some Villains seem to take particular pleasure in sharing in the Dark Lord’s growing power, as demonstrated by their abilities. For example, whenever Control is added to the Location, Draco Malfoy™ lashes out, forcing you to lose 2 Health! Equally important to note is that when you are able to defeat Draco, you are rewarded by removing 1 Control from the Location. This is one of the two primary ways in which you can set back the Villains. The other is with the effects of some Hogwarts cards. On that note, here is one more preview card. It is one of the trusted Allies you will find as you proceed to Game 2, and one of Harry’s most faithful and dedicated supporters.
Now you are ready to begin your tabletop adventure! Hogwarts is depending on you to defeat Lord Voldemort and save the Wizarding World from certain doom. Are you up for the challenge?
If you’re brave enough to take on Voldemort single handedly, our esteemed designer Kami Mandell has provided us with new solo play rules so you can play Harry Potter™ Hogwarts™ Battle on your own!
Can’t get enough Harry Potter? Unwavering defenders of Hogwarts wishing to carry on the fight against He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named won’t want to miss these Hogwarts Battle expansions!
Venture into the Forbidden Forest with Harry Potter™ Hogwarts™ Battle: The Monster Box of Monsters Expansion
Harry Potter™ Hogwarts™ Battle: The Monster Box of Monsters Expansion provides four challenging new adventures for witches and wizards that possess the base game. The expansion puts your Hogwarts heroes face-to-face with some of the Wizarding World’s most fearsome creatures, and also adds quirky Luna Lovegood™ to the list of playable characters.
To win the game, you and your friends will need to defeat all Villains, Creatures, and Encounters before they take control of the Locations. Each turn is played just like the base game with a few notable additions.
To start, choose a character to play with from either the base game or the new expansion heroes along with one Proficiency from Game 6. After resolving your Dark Arts event(s), you must also overcome Encounters, which are new challenges with passive effects that deter your progress. Each Encounter includes criteria you must meet to resolve the effects of that card and the Reward your heroes will receive upon completion. Remember, Encounter cards must be revealed and completed sequentially, and each Encounter determines which Creatures are present in the Villain deck.
As you play, you might notice some more new game effects, including Banishing, which allows you to remove cards from your deck for the rest of the game. Watch out for Detention cards! You receive these as punishment for any wrongdoing, and they’ll certainly clog your deck. Additionally, once per game, any one Hero may forgo acquiring new cards in order to replace all the cards in the Hogwarts stack.
Once all the Villains, Creatures, and Encounter cards have been defeated, you and your friends win the game and may advance to the next adventure.
Brew New Ways to Defeat the Dark Lord with the Harry Potter™ Hogwarts™ Battle: The Charms and Potions Expansion
Continue to rally against Villains and enhance your abilities with this new expansion, which features the addition of a fifth player game board and new playable character, Ginny Weasley™.
Along with a new Hero comes all new components to get acquainted with, such as an eighth Spell (the Bat Bogie Hex), a personal set of tokens, and new Villains to defeat including Pansy Parkinson and Marcus Flint.
*Spoiler Alert!* We will be giving away a couple surprises from the Charms and Potions expansion in the next few paragraphs. If you would like to keep them a secret, skip ahead to the next section! Otherwise, read on!
A couple of the most notable features of the Charms and Potions expansion are the ten different Charms boards and the Potions Cupboard game board extension (introduced in Pack 2). The Charms boards provide options for your Hero to either heal or help along the group objective, so be sure to collaborate with your fellow witches and wizards to decide how to use these actions to your advantage. The Potions Cupboard, as you may have guessed, houses the new Potions cards and the Ingredients required to brew them. The double-sided Shelf Requirements card reveals which Ingredients you can assign to Potions based upon events that took place during your turn.
For example, Side A of the Shelf Requirements states that if a Hero was stunned during your turn, you may take an Ingredient from that shelf and assign it to a Potion. Go down the entire list to find which requirements you’ve met on your turn, and once a Potion has been assigned with all required Ingredients, you may use that brew’s Banish Effect to aid your Heroes in battle.
Just like the base game and the Monster Box of Monsters expansion, you win the game by defeating all Villains before they take control of all your Locations.
Note that you do not need the Monster Box of Monsters expansion to enjoy Charms and Potions. Both of these expansions play independently from each other, but they can also be combined for the ultimate Harry Potter game night.
Maximize the Longevity of Your Deck-Building Experience With Harry Potter™: Hogwarts™ Battle Card Sleeves
Do you want to keep your Hogwarts cards looking like new for years to come? Our Harry Potter™: Hogwarts™ Battle Card Sleeves protect your cards and are designed to guard the corners and surfaces of cards from games 1-7 and all starting decks.
This pack will sleeve only the Hogwarts cards from the Hogwarts Battle Deck Building Series. This pack does not fit the Dark Arts, Encounter, Villains or Location cards.
If you’d like to sleeve the Hogwarts cards for the base game and both expansions, two packs of card sleeves will be enough to do just that!
We hope this guide has prepared you for success in Harry Potter™ Hogwarts™ Battle and we wish you luck on your quest to defeat Lord Voldemort and his loyal followers. Don’t forget to check out our whole repertoire of Harry Potter tabletop games and be sure to share your magical game night photos with us using #TheOpGames or @theopgames for your chance to be featured on our social media pages.